Height – 6’5.75″
Weight – 204 lbs
Age – 19
School – Duke
Wingspan – 6’8.75″
Standing Reach – 8’2″
DraftExpress Rank – 53
Season Stats – 33.8 minutes, 14.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 41.5% FG, 40.2% 3PT, 87.6% FT
On paper, Gary Trent Jr. is your perfect 3-and-D archetype. Trent Jr. is a 40 percent three-point shooter with a nearly 6’9″ (nice) wingspan. At 19 years old, there’s a ton of room to grow, both physically and figuratively, for Trent.
But in a league of increasing positionless players, Trent Jr. has room to grow, namely defensively. On the offensive end, a more dynamic offensive game could be unearthed with some work as Trent Jr. likely is a multi-year project.
Shooting – The number that jumps out of the screen to you is the 40 percent three-point shooting. That number regressed late in the year. Through the first 26 games of the season, Trent Jr. shot a startling 46 percent from beyond the arc at an average of 6.2 attempts per game.
Trent Jr. is, without question, a great spot-up shooter. Of his 97 three-pointers attempted this year, 94.8 percent of those were assisted threes. In a Duke offense that had essentially negative spacing, though, Trent Jr. was great at relocating around his big men in the post to create open looks.
In the clip, Trent Jr. shows a bit of a ball-handling prowess (we’ll get into that) before the ball moves into the post. Trent Jr. rotates to the opposite corner and gets an open look out of it.
Considering that, at the time of the clip, Trent Jr. was just an 18-year old, you can see his understanding of the game is another positive.
Scoring – Yes, scoring and shooting are different. Trent Jr. is a great shooter but has work to do as a scorer. He rarely drove to the rim, attempting just 12.9 percent of his field goals at the rim. However, on the shots that came at the rim, Trent shot 65.5 percent on the season.
Trent Jr. also showed a bit of a mid-range game at times when attacking closeouts this season.
Again, Trent Jr. recognizes the defender closing out off-balance, attacks the close-out and hits an elbow jumper.
Much like I detailed in my breakdown of Trevon Duval, it was often hard for the Duke guards to get into the lane with Marvin Bagley, Wendell Carter III and their respective defenders clogging the paint.
Trent Jr. adjusted with either mid-range pull-ups or floaters. He didn’t do it often, but he showed enough flashes that it could be a potential weapon in an offense that is regularly-spaced.
Ball-handling – Trent Jr. didn’t handle the ball much with Grayson Allen and Duval doing the lion’s share of the playmaking. He had a usage percentage of just 19.5 percent,
In limited time, though, Trent Jr. showed flashes of being a capable playmaker and ball-handler. It’s easier to see that in the tape of his time with USA’s u17 side in FIBA play.
The play fizzles out a bit in the play above and results in a turnover, but it shows the comfort level Trent Jr. has in coming off a screen and making a pocket pass (even if it was probably the wrong read here).
Length – It’s hard to find out too much about individual Duke players on the defensive end because they spent most of the season in a 2-3 zone. And even more, Trent Jr. and the other guards were hardly aggressive because Duke was razor thin in backcourt depth.
However, with a 6’9″ (nice) wingspan, Trent projects as a player who could have an impact on the defensive end. His slight frame may never fill out enough for him to play regular minutes as a small forward, but in a small ball era, Trent Jr. could see time as a modern three in certain lineups down the road.
IQ – It’s hard to quantify a player’s IQ, but Trent Jr. has a great one considering his age. Unlike his backcourt mate Duval, Trent Jr. rarely found himself out of position and hardly ever jumped passing lanes in an ill-advised manner.
He rarely did it for reasons mentioned above, but Trent Jr. was also good at digging down on post players are ripping them of the ball on rare occasions, usually when Duke was trailing late and needed turnovers. Trent Jr. made some big defensive plays late in games for Duke, showcasing a potential to be a solid on-ball defender in the future.
Late in a game against Florida where Duke trailed big and made a huge comeback, Trent Jr. made the big defensive play, first sticking with his man on the perimeter before using his length to poke the ball loose and eventually seal the game for Duke.
Those moments were mixed with some bad moments, too, but given his age, it’s fair to assume the best could be yet to come for Trent Jr. defensively.
Fit With Lakers
It’s clear that, to a certain extent, Trent Jr. is a project. Right now, he’s a bit too one-dimensional offensively and sporadic on defense. He’s not a Thomas Bryant-level of a project that needs to spend a whole year in the G-League, but it’s not unreasonable to think a lot of his rookie season could be spent with the South Bay Lakers.
But Trent Jr. won’t turn 20 until January, meaning there’s plenty of time to develop him into a solid 3-and-D player. He’s likely a reach with the Lakers’ first-round pick, but if available in the second round, he fits the Lakers’ desire for shooting and versatility and could be an option for the Lakers.
For a complete list of the draft profiles done by our staff for the 2018 NBA Draft, visit our profile tracker.